EMSA board to dis­cuss exec's job

Em­bat­tled di­rec­tor is the only topic on the agenda for Tues­day's meet­ing

Tulsa World - - Front Page - By Randy Kre­hbiel

The board of di­rec­tors gov­ern­ing Tulsa's emer­gency am­bu­lance ser­vice has sched­uled a Tues­day spe­cial meet­ing to dis­cuss the em­ploy­ment of Ex­ec­u­tive Di­rec­tor Steve Wil­liamson.

Emer­gency Med­i­cal Ser­vices Author­ity, which man­ages am­bu­lance ser­vices for Ok­la­homa City as well as Tulsa, would not com­ment on the meet­ing, which will be held at 9 a.m. Tues­day in the Stroud Con­fer­ence Cen­ter. The only topic on the agenda, how­ever, is Wil­liamson's em­ploy­ment.

Wil­liamson, who has led EMSA since its or­ga­ni­za­tion in 1978, has come un­der fire for a va­ri­ety of is­sues over the years. Most re­cently, he was named in a fed­eral law­suit claim­ing a $20 mil­lion kick­back scheme in­volv­ing a Texas con­trac­tor.

Ok­la­homa At­tor­ney Gen­eral Mike Hunter joined the law­suit in Fe­bru­ary, say­ing the al­leged the kick­backs in­val­i­dated $64 mil­lion in Med­i­caid claims.

Wil­liamson

Ex­penses from the law­suit prompted EMSA to seek an in­crease in the am­bu­lance trans­port fee in Tulsa from $1,300 to $1,700. The Tulsa City Coun­cil re­jected that re­quest.

An EMSA fund con­trolled by the city could have been uti­lized for the le­gal ex­penses had the city not emp­tied it to bal­ance its own bud­get.

Wil­liamson also has been crit­i­cized in the past for ex­penses billed to EMSA, his com­pen­sa­tion and billing prac­tices that caused some users to pay twice for am­bu­lance ser­vices.

EMSA is a pub­lic trust set up by the Ok­la­homa City and Tulsa mu­nic­i­pal gov­ern­ments to over­see emer­gency med­i­cal ser­vices in those two cities and 11 other com­mu­ni­ties. Among those are Bixby, Jenks and Sand Springs.

It does this pri­mar­ily through con­tracts with am­bu­lance and emer­gency med­i­cal per­son­nel providers.

Ac­cord­ing to its web­site, EMSA serves 1.1 mil­lion peo­ple an­nu­ally.

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